The Book Thief

Identify & describe Liesel’s foster parents.

Identify & describe Liesel’s foster parents.

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Hans Hubermann

Liesel's silver-eyed foster father. An amateur accordion player, Hans is a tall, gentle man with a remarkable amount of integrity and bravery -- Hans' compassion sets a strong example for Liesel, who is soothed by his presence. His life was saved by a Jew Erik Vandenberg in World War I, and he keeps his promise to Erik's widow by hiding her son Max from the Nazis. A skilled house painter by trade, Hans is horrified by the Nazis' persecution of the Jews, and he brings scrutiny to himself by painting over anti-Semitic slurs on Jewish-owned homes and businesses. Hans' impulsive kindness ultimately gets him in trouble, and he is conscripted to serve in a dangerous air raid recovery unit. Hans survives this assignment, but ultimately dies in the air raid that hits Molching at the end of the novel.

Rosa Hubermann

Hans' wife and Liesel's foster mother. A squat woman who makes some money doing laundry for wealthy neighbors, Rosa has a fiery attitude and frequently employs profanity, especially towards those whom she loves. Death describes Rosa as a good woman for a crisis: she maintains order in the household through difficult times, but her spirit is steadily beat down by several the events in the novel, e.g. Max's illness, Hans' conscription, and the air raids.